41 Days Until Hell And the Uncertain End
Heia sat with her head between her knees, her back against the wall, and her arms curled around her body. She heard Evester in the other room, chatting with the Stars who never responded back. She could not make out more than his voice, but she knew he was trying to say something. She was not certain what they were doing to him, but he heard laughter and intermittent hisses of pain. She looked at her own arms, where she had been inked with strange marks. Every day for the last few days they had painted her body in the markings that vanished within hours.Each time that they did, she felt that her body was less her own to control.
Even now the markings were beginning to fade. They were glowing soft, in the color of her own skin, or perhaps it was actual magic? Heia was not sure. She did know that in a few minutes, when the marks fully began to disappear, like a wave washing over her body, she’d feel extreme pain. She would not give them the satisfaction of screaming this time.
“How are you?” A voice startled her.
Heia looked up to see a woman who had the same chin as Zeydar. Heia knew the woman was the one who had captured them, and from the way that she held herself she had the same arrogance as Zeydar — albeit in a different way. Her stance did not hold the same cowering that Zeydar had in fear of his own might. This woman was certain of herself.
“Are you his mother?” Heia asked.
The woman flinched at the word. “We don’t use those identifiers.”
That’s not a no. “What do you want?”
“I want you to tell me about Zeydar.” She stood without moving, not even to take a seat. The woman did not expect a long conversation.
The woman cocked her head. “Tell me what you know about him.”
“Are you trying to get information out of us? Weaknesses?”
“We already know that he has a strange relationship with Evester. Our mages saw him at the clubs.”
Which meant that they knew that Zeydar had some sort of relationship with her. They also knew based on the videos, including the videos and propaganda that EverDanger had put out. If they had watched those, they’d know that Zeydar trusted Heia. Heia, however, doubted that they thought much of her as she had been an after thought.
“Then what do you care?” Heia glared at the woman.
“You are one of the three chosen ones with him, and we noticed that he does seem to care for you too.”
As an after thought.
Heia scoffed and then looked to her arms again. The pain would arrive soon, and Heia did not want to give the woman the satisfaction of seeing her cry. “What’s it to you?”
“I want to know about that.”
“What does it matter?”
“This can be easy or difficult. Please do this the easy way.”
“No.” Heia glanced up once more and poured all the anger and hate that she had into the look she gave the woman. She watched as the woman winced and then nodded, leaving through the door. The pain washed over her then, like an unwelcomed friend. Gritting her teeth, she restrained from screaming by clawing into her skin with her nails. She counted down the pain. In the recent hours, since the painting had begun, the pain would disappear faster and faster. She was left gasping like a fish when the pain finally faded. Rocking back and forth, Heia listened for the footsteps, of those who would come, knock her out, and paint her skin again.
The door opened and the woman was there again. In her hand she held a Staff, pointed in Heia’s direction.
“Now that the spell has been completed…” The woman said solemnly, before casting some spell to keep Heia still. The woman then twisted her Staff and said another word.
What is she do— Her skin began to scream. Like she was boiling from the inside out. The pain was unlike any other that she had ever had in her life, and her mind was melting.
The order echoed in her head as her memories were spilling through her lips. She exposed all the situations she’d been through with Zeydar, how much she cared about it. It was siphoned from her, like her life force was burning from her. Each fact was a moment of relief and reprieve shortly followed by a more intense burning. The truth was exposed without her control, without her wanting it to be done. She then felt freezing as the magic coiled around her heart tugging it further, forcing her to say everything. Her emotions. What she loved. How she was. Her fears.
Then it stopped and Heia laid on the ground, shivering and sweating at the same time. She gaped at the woman, her tongue dry, time had escaped her. The woman was not smiling, but her Staff was no longer pointed in Heia’s direction.
“She’s just an extra.” The woman spoke not to Heia but someone else.
“Worthless.” A man’s voice came from the hall. The woman turned to leave and shut the door behind her, the man’s voice drifting into the room. “Perhaps her death will be worth something.”
What had they done?